I saw this on Slashdot earlier. Very interesting!
“Think hanging chads, illegal purges of the voter rolls, and insecure voting machines are bad?
The New Yorker looks back at how we used to vote back in the good old days: ‘A man carrying a musket rushed at him. Another threw a brick, knocking him off his feet. George Kyle picked himself up and ran. He never did cast his vote. Nor did his brother, who died of his wounds. The Democratic candidate for Congress, William Harrison, lost to the American Party’s Henry Winter Davis. Three months later, when the House of Representatives convened hearings into the election, whose result Harrison contested, Davis’s victory was upheld on the ground that any “man of ordinary courage” could have made his way to the polls.’ Now I feel like a wuss for complaining about the lack of a voter-verified paper trail.”
The article notes the American penchant for trying to fix voting problems with technology — starting just after the Revolution. This country didn’t use secret ballots, an idea imported from Australia, until quite late in the 19th century.